Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farm Limited has launched its first harvest in Benin City, amidst pomp and fanfare for a bountiful harvest.
At the event, Chairman, Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farm, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, stressed the need for Nigeria to adopt new technologies that would allow it to increase food productivity, obtain better quality products, self-sufficiency and access to international markets with better prices.
He said the farm plans to scale its scalable and modula production model in other states of the federation with the aim of satisfying both domestic and export demands of horticultural products and increase non-oil export in the international market.
He said: “Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms is poised to change the narrative of agriculture in Nigeria while immensely diversifying our economy.
“During our conception stages we identified challenges in the agro-food sector to include poor transportation of the goods from the Northern to the Southern part of the country, as well as loss of produce due to ineffective packaging and storage facilities.
“Today, Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms is abundantly equipped to handle the demands of moving products from Edo State to the rest of the country. We are significantly proud of feat and the key opportunities it affords us.”
He further said the farm is poised to revolutionise the tomato industry in Nigeria and impact on the entire agricultural sector of this country.
He disclosed that today, Nigeria ranked the 14th largest producer of tomatoes on world, second in Africa after Egypt and accounts for 65 per cent of tomatoes produced in West Africa.
While disclosing that the nation produces 1.8m metric tonnes of tomatoes annually, he lamented that nearly 0.7m metric tonnes of this quantity was lost after harvest.
The Chair of Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms, said Nigeria imports $360m annually of tomatoes. Also speaking, the Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, said the establishment of the farms is timely, especially as the body is doing a lot to promote export.
Awolowo who said the council has developed 22 priority products of which 80 per cent are agricultural products, added that “it is remarkable that a time like this, two persons have significantly shown interest. Alhaji Aliko Dangote and now Capt. Hosa Okunbo”.
On his part, the Minister of state, Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, commended the initiator of Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms, noting that the presidency has endorsed this initiative.
In his remarks, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State joined the Federal Government to endorse the Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms projects, which he said is in line with the state government’s mandate of creating job for the teaming youths.
Obaseki who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu, noted that when his government promised to create 200,000 jobs, it did not mean just government jobs alone but making use of private initiatives like the one being witness today.
Highlights of the launch were the display of fresh tomatoes from the Wells Hosa GreenHouse Farms.